Expert insight: How do endodontists diagnose the cause of oral pain?

Written by: Dr Adi Moran
Edited by: Sophie Kennedy

In this informative guide to dental pain diagnosis, revered endodontist Dr Adi Moran sheds light on how the source of oral pain is identified through thorough assessment and examination. The leading specialist also details the next steps following diagnosis.

What are some common causes of oral pain?

Dental pain can often be attributed to various factors, with tooth decay and cavities being common culprits. Decay can penetrate the enamel and dentin layers, reaching the sensitive pulp and resulting in throbbing pain.

Additionally, gum disease, characterised by inflammation and infection of the gums, can lead to oral pain. Another common cause is dental trauma, such as fractures or cracks in the teeth, which can expose nerves and lead to persistent pain. Also, abscesses or infections in the oral cavity can be a source of severe pain, requiring prompt intervention.

As there are many possible causes of dental pain, endodontists adopt a comprehensive approach to diagnosis, ensuring that every aspect of the patient's oral health is thoroughly examined and addressed.

How do endodontists diagnose the cause of oral pain?

In order to diagnose the cause of oral pain, we need to see the patient for a complete assessment and consultation. It's not enough to simply look at a radiograph, but rather, it’s crucially important to listen to what the patient has to say about their symptoms and ask questions accordingly.

After this, we would go through the patient’s dental history to see if there are any relevant clues. This is usually a continuous process to ensure that we make an accurate diagnosis. We would also perform a very thorough clinical examination and take X-rays. This could be several X-rays from different angles or different types of x-rays. Sometimes, we may need a three-dimensional X-ray which is a CT scan.

What are the next steps?

Once we have all the relevant information, we use this to formulate a diagnosis or several potential diagnoses, known as a differential diagnosis. We sit down with the patient and explain the findings, going through exactly what their diagnosis means and what can be done. We discuss the treatment options, and this is a good time for the patient to ask further questions. Usually, at the end of the consultation, patients have not only a clear diagnosis but also the understanding of what needs to be done and our recommendations.

If you are troubled by oral pain, visit Dr Moran’s Top Doctors profile today to schedule a consultation.

By Dr Adi Moran

Dr Adi Moran is an expert endodontist based in London with an outstanding academic background. He practices at Harley Street Dental Studio and at Endocare Richmond. Originally qualifying from Semmelweis University, Budapest, Dr Moran completed a specialty programme in Endodontics at the Hebrew University, Hadassah, where he was one of the few interns regularly asked to lecture before being certified as a specialist. He now practices at Endocare, a centre of excellence for diagnosing and treating dental pain and providing root canal surgery.

Dr Moran held an official academic title of an ‘associate clinical teacher’ at the department of Endodontics, the University of Warwick for five years, teaching and instructing MSc courses and being involved in research. He routinely lectures to general dental practitioners, and is a guest lecturer at the department of Endodontics, Hadassah where he has been a clinical instructor to undergraduate dental students for a number of years. Additionally he is a key opinion leader for Kerr Endodontics.

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